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How To Build Self Confidence And Prepare Yourself For Success In Life

How To Build Self Confidence And Prepare Yourself For Success In Life

Do you act in a way that’s governed by other people’s opinions?

Do you continually stay in your comfort zone for fear of failure?

Do you fear making mistakes and cover them up before anyone finds out?

Do you feel you need constant recognition for your successes to feel validated?

Or do you simply find it hard to accept compliments?

Self-confidence is something we all want but for a huge number of us, it can be a struggle in our day-to-day lives.

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If you say “yes” to any of the above questions, it means you still need to work on strengthening your self-confidence. And the key to overcoming low self-confidence is understanding what it is and ways we can combat it head on.

The Difference Between Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem

Many people can’t differentiate these two concepts. While they may seem similar, there are fundamental differences between self-confidence and self-esteem.

Self-confidence is about our ability to trust in ourselves and how we deal with challenges or difficult situations. Self-esteem is our cognitive and emotional assessment of ourselves that is connected with our worth.[1]

Both of these don’t always go hand in hand. Someone with an abundance of self-confidence may have significant low self-esteem. A typical example of this would be a performer who can stand on stage to thousands of people but who destroys himself with alcohol and drugs behind closed doors.

The great thing about working on raising your self-confidence is that it’s much easier than working on your self-esteem. By boosting confidence first and foremost, you can then be better equipped to target any self-esteem issues.

Self-Confidence Level Determines How Successful You Are

Self-confidence is crucial when it comes to our learning and capabilities. Our confidence can affect our performance and relationships with others and is a much stronger indication of success than self-esteem.[2]

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And this is down to what we believe is true about ourselves. Our beliefs influence heavily what we think we are capable of. In other words, mindset is a big determinant in how much self-confidence we have.

If we believe we are no good at a task then our performance is lessened significantly. The influence our mind has on our abilities can be the difference between performing well or performing less than our actual capabilities. Fears are therefore fundamental to our level of confidence and transcends throughout different areas of our life.

How Can We Build Up Our Self-Confidence?

There are many ways we can build up our self-confidence so what are some good hacks we can apply to our day-to-day lives?

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

If you have low self-confidence then the advice of ‘being yourself’ can be detrimental. This is where faking confidence can really help you move forward with success. Paying attention to how you want to present yourself to others can give you clarity into striving to act in this way.[3]

Sometimes it’s easier to change from the outside in – in other words, once we get used to acting in a confident way, it can become more familiar and we can start to see positive results.

Your Every Gesture Counts

Body language is an important way to convey confidence. When we have low self-confidence it can be apparent in the way we physically hold ourselves. Standing up tall and even doing power poses (think Superman) can change the way we think to that of confidence. Try it throughout the day and see the difference it makes. Talk more slowly – taking time to think about what you want to say – and making eye contact will give the impression of confidence.

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Here’s a video that gives you more idea of how to act with confidence:[4]

Dress For Confidence

Studies have shown that what you wear can have significant influence on how you feel and act.[5] Dressing up in clothes that make you feel confident can change your attitude and outlook on a stressful situation.

Change Your Mindset

Mindset is extremely important when it comes to confidence. Confident people focus on more positive thoughts and outcomes than negative ones. Try to change your perspective and habit of thinking – focus on abundance rather than lack. Know that the outcome doesn’t necessarily reflect your abilities.

Celebrate Small Wins

People with low self-confidence have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on the bigger picture. The secret to building more confidence is to focus more on the small steps we take. Direct more significance to small wins and celebrate them as this will help you realise how far you’ve come. In essence, become your own cheerleader.

See How You Become A Better You

Taking up a new skill like learning a language can help you to build up confidence. Seeing improvements and keeping track of progress will instinctively build up how you see yourself in terms of ability. It can also help distract and calm the mind, blocking any worrying or overthinking that may arise from other areas of your life.

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Recommended Reading Material

    If books are your thing, then You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero is an excellent read to help you build your confidence and tackle your fears. It provides inspirational stories and easy exercises to follow all in a humorous and relatable fashion. It helps you to identify the behaviours and negative beliefs that are keeping you back from being the fully confident person you’re capable of being!

    So, remember building confidence is really a combination of mindset and changing our detrimental behavioural patterns. But the key is knowing that low self-confidence can be overcome.

    “Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” – Barrie Davenport

    Reference

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    Jenny Marchal

    A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

    How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How To Overcome Self Imposed Limitations For Goal Setting To Reach Your Goals, Start With Planning For The Worst Why Setting Intrinsic Goals Can Make You Happier

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

    The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

    Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

    In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

    When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

    Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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    1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

    When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

    As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

    That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

    The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

    What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

    Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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    There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

    So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

    2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

    When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

    No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

    3. Move Your Body

    A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

    It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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    So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

    4. Connect With Another Person

    Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

    One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

    Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

    5. Use Your Imagination

    When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

    That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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    And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

    Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

    Final Thoughts

    Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

    Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

    More on the Importance of Taking a Break

    Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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